Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Creating a Baby Name Wreath

Molly has been the only child around here for 2 years which means she's had personal run of this household during that time. Things have been Molly-centric and as our first-born that's only natural. But with Lily due to arrive ANY day now, I'm trying to allot her some personal space and touches around our home. My first endeavor was the No Sew Name Banner that hang's in the girls' playroom. That was such a success that I decided to tackle a Name Wreath to compliment the one hanging on Molly's bedroom door. The below wreath was gifted to us at one of my baby showers before Molly was born. It's a masterpiece and handmade just for my little girl.
Now I am not nearly talented (or patient) enough to create a grand spectacle like Molly's wreath, and I just couldn't bring myself to ask the original creator to replicate it. Plus I wanted to create something unique and different for Lily. So I decided on an understated name wreath to grace Lily's door... that's kind of my style anyway, which works out!

Wreath Frame (I used a square wire frame)
Fabric (I used 3 spools of wreath fabric)
Letters (I painted some wooden letters)
Embellishments (I used fake flowers)
Hot Glue Gun

Weave your fabric around your wreath frame. This was the most time consuming part, getting the fabric style and looping just right. I had a little leftover fabric which I used to create a bow. This was not originally part of the design, but I'm glad I just went with the flow. After finishing the basework, I hot glued the bow on one of the wreath's corners.
Next, I laid out all my embellishments like the fake flowers and letters. I played around with a few different arrangements before finally glueing and weaving flowers into the wreath.
Here's a close-up of the arrangement I decided on. I wove the flowers into place first and once I was happy with the layout, I used my hot glue gun to secure everything.
I've NEVER made a wreath before so I was actually surprised at how easy this wreath was to create. I didn't even consult Pinterest! And now I have a daily reminder of my impending arrival but also of my craftiness. It's an excellent confidence booster.
PS- This only took me about an hour!
PPS- Wreaths are great gifts for baby showers and for the front door of new parents! Add a cheeky message about "Ring the doorbell and I can't be held accountable for my reaction!" to deter nosy neighbors and solicitors!

Monday, April 14, 2014

the baby bump report {38 weeks}

How many weeks? 38 weeks. 2 more weeks (or less)! Lily is full term now, so let's hope it is less than 2 weeks until she arrives!

Baby's size? Based on the baby websites, Lily is the size of a pumpkin weighing in at roughly 6.2-9.2 pounds and measuring between 18.9 and 20.9 inches... Based on guess-timates, Lily is aiming to be over 8 pounds.
Cool baby fact? Little girl is practicing her inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking... with some hiccups in there for good measure! Clearly, she hasn't slowed down in the movement department as she is constantly manipulating my belly's shape and size.

Pink or blue? 
Team Pink! Little Miss Lily will be joining us soon!
Symptoms? Just the overall feeling of being large and tired. Nothing new on this front!

The best thing? Being on leave! I can completely focus on me, catch up on my rest, and prepare for Lily's arrival. It's a blessing to have the responsibility of work lifted from my shoulders.

The most difficult thing? My foot still bothers me, but it's a ton better now. I can actually do things around the house which is a pleasure. I enjoy reclining around the house and catching up on sleep, but at the same time I get antsy not being able to function as a normal person. There are so many Sudoku games I can do before I NEED something else to occupy my time.

Looking forward to? I think this is pretty self explanatory, but Lily's arrival! I'm ready to be un-pregnant and have my baby at home!
Photo by Wonderfully Made Photography.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

And I thought I had a tough time baby proofing...

Baby Elephant Duncan
Photo from the Houston Zoo
Baby animals are adorable right?! Anything in a miniaturized form triggers our "Awww!" reflex. But can you imagine trying to baby proof an animal enclosure at the zoo once a new bouncing baby elephant is born? That is exactly what our zoo in Houston had to do recently. Here it is in their own words:

Babies can be unpredictable – particularly the elephant variety. You may have read or heard that our newest elephant addition, Duncan, accidentally found his way outside his habitat the other day. He was sleeping, got startled by a member of his herd, and scooted right under the cabling. He was still in a fenced area not accessible to guests, but he was definitely out of his element. Luckily, the keepers responded within minutes and were able to encourage baby Duncan back into his habitat in less than ten minutes. (FYI, the zoo quickly modified the elephant enclosure to ensure baby elephants cannot "scoot" under the enclosure cables.)

Though we regularly review our very rigorous safety procedures, it’s always good to take a step back and take even more steps to be sure we continue to be as safe as possible. Though many of our animals are highly trained and all are excellent ambassadors for their species, there are still many animals that are dangerous to humans. Here are a few ways we ensure that these animals, our guests, and our keepers stay safe.

As you probably know from daily life, checking and double checking is always a good thing. Ever wondered when you head off for vacation if you really did lock your front door, and then head back to check it? It’s important for you, but it’s extra important for a zoo that deals with animals like venomous snakes, for example. While keepers in the Reptile and Amphibian House have always double checked the locks on habitats once they have completed cleaning them, as of today, we are adding an additional layer of security. We have added a third check with a Zoo Ranger also checking each and every one prior to the building opening.  Our awesome Zoo Rangers not only help our guests when they need directions, but they are an extra layer of safety for our all of us as well!

That just makes any baby proofing I've done at home look paltry in comparison. Yes, Molly can be a handful and is prone to running amok, but she ain't no baby elephant or venomous snake!

You can read about a few other sneaky critters on the Houston Zoo blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where have 2 years gone?! A very happy birthday!

When did we go from this...
to this?!
Where has the time flown? Seriously, it's unfair how quickly 2 years have passed!

Happy Birthday Molly!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Garden Happenings

I love taking photos of plants because they are such willing participants, as opposed to a certain 2 year old who will remain nameless... Ahem! Anywho especially with this bout of nice weather, it's been a pleasure being outdoors and basking in the plant growth occurring. So here's just a taste of what is growing in our garden right now!
My thyme is not only overflowing it's pot, but it's flowering adding some drama to my herb collection... I hoard herbs!
Marigolds are such dainty and luscious flowers that I got 3 different varieties this year! I just couldn't help myself, but I justify it because they help keep pests away! I don't want any of those horned worms this year.
Since the dog regressed after we tried soooooooooooo hard to get her to stop digging, we gave in and fenced our gardens. I just couldn't bear the thought of losing all the wonderful veggies and fruits I planted. Here is one of our tomato plants and it's pest controller, the marigold! The fence, thankfully, doesn't look as bad as I anticipated because picket fences are so quaint.
I am experimenting with potatoes this year and I'm starting out with a small variety now. I'm not sure what these puppies have in store, but I'm hoping we get something viable because I love making a good stew or pot roast with small potatoes. Not to mention they are easily cooked in the oven with a bit of rosemary and olive oil... yum!
Even though the roses are subsiding, we still have a few poking through the fence from our neighbors.
Last year, our carrots were awesome and easy. Double win! Things seem to be going the same way this year, even if my green onions are trying to take over and inter-finger with the carrots. I've had those green onions for over 3 years now and they keep going strong! I love being able to step out side and snip them for baked potatoes toppings.
The green beans are climbing! Again, just like last year, these green beans took off like nobody's business. I'm so excited that our second year of "real" gardening is going well. It's so fulfilling.

What's growing in your garden? Has spring arrived for you?

PS - You can still receive 15% off an UrbMat from UrbnEarth with the promo code BABY15 between now and 12/31/2014. That's right, you can reap the benefits of this offer all year long!
Let's just call this the gardening equivalent of paint by numbers!

Monday, April 7, 2014

the baby bump report {37 weeks}

How many weeks? 37 weeks. Counting down... 3 more weeks (or less)! Please let it be less!

Baby's size? Based on the baby websites, Lily is the size of a winter melon weighing in at roughly 6.2-9.2 pounds and measuring between 18.9 and 20.9 inches... Based on last week's ultrasound, she is over 7 pounds already and still growing.

Cool baby fact? Little girl is practicing her inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking... with some hiccups in there for good measure!

Pink or blue? 
Team Pink! Little Miss Lily will be joining us soon!

Symptoms? Constant awareness of my nearest restroom. I swear it's like having an extra sense because no matter what my bladder seems to point me in the correct direction every time... and more often than I'd like. I swear every time I get up from a chair the urge hits me, so stay out of my way!

The best thing? Going on leave! My last day in the office before I take some "me" time is Thursday!! And I am so excited. It will be nice not staring at a computer for most of the day and having some time to rest up for the "big" day. With Molly I worked up until the day I went into labor, which was okay but this time I wanted a bit more breathing space. Clearly, I am not even betting on an early arrival for Lily....

The most difficult thing? Foot pain. Blerg. I got a little overzealous last week trying to progress things through extra walks and taking the stairs. Unfortunately, it was a bit much for me to handle and I strained something in my right foot. Now I'm an invalid with a limp. Which is super frustrating because all I want to do is get up and do stuff, but my foot hurts! *Whine Whine*

Looking forward to? Taking it easy! Luke's recliner and I will be having quite the exciting adventure with Netflix soon. Although if those nesting instincts kick in, I will be more like a cleaning addict over the next weeks. But at least I get to be at home! Home sweet home!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pregnancy Must-Haves

I guess now that I've almost reached the end of my second pregnancy, I can speak honestly about what made me comfortable for 10 months (twice over!) while growing a person. Here are my picks for Pregnancy Must-Haves:
Pregnancy Pillow - Heating Pad - Massage Cream - Sandals - Shirt - App - Book - Vitamins

  1. Body Pillows - Whether you invest in generic body pillows (like me) or a snoogle or any other iteration, all are an amazing investment in your comfort. Plus not everyone is adept at sleeping on their side, so being propped up nightly is a huge help. I know I am going to relish that first night of sleep on my back! 
  2. Heating Pad - During my first pregnancy, I invested in monthly massages to ease my aches and pains. While it did wonders, the massages never got deep enough (especially in the pelvic area) to erase the ouchies. This time I took a more simplistic approach, coming home to my husband's recliner and a heating pad. Truthfully, it worked better at melting away any discomfort compared to those costly massages because the heat seeped deeper into my body than any kneading could.
  3. Lotion - Let's face the truth... preventing stretch marks comes down to genetics and pregnancy length. All the cocoa butter, lotion and creams in the world won't stop those pesky devils. BUT given the intense stretching our skin endures, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pamper it a bit. I love Palmer's Massage Cream for several reasons. The first is that it's thicker than lotion and is instantly more soothing (not to mention long-lasting). The second is that it comes in a convenient tube with flip top since I hate messing with lids to body butter (they constantly try to thwart me). And lastly, it's not greasy!
  4. Comfy Shoes - For all the lucky ladies whose feet don't swell in pregnancy, consider yourself lucky! I can start the day in normal shoes but by the end of the day, I'm walking barefoot around the office. Not really work appropriate. So take the time to buy some comfortable shoes and/or sandals depending on the season. I bought 2 pairs of these sandals in black and burnt orange (to easily coordinate with any outfit), and thus far I've lived in them day after day. The added plus for purchasing sandals is that you can buy your normal size and not worry about a pair of shoes that may never fit again... unless you find yourself pregnant down the road.
  5. Comfy Clothes - Maternity clothes have come a LONG way since the Muumuus our grandmothers' wore back in the days of yore. Embrace the trendy, clingy yet comfy clothes, because every bump deserves to be shown off in style and comfort! The options are endless now (maxi dresses, skinny jeans, yoga pants, poplin blouses, high-waisted swimsuits, intimates and more), so why not partake?! Personally, I love maternity clothes because they are stretchy catering to a burgeoning belly as well as a changing postpartum body.
  6. Pregnancy Apps - I am sending out a big thank you to BabyCenter for their awesome pregnancy app! While I've documented my pregnancy journey week after week, I haven't been as attentive during this pregnancy as with my first... Toddlers are good at distracting and oftentimes I'm not only forgetting how many weeks I am, but also that I'm even pregnant! That's where the BabyCenter App comes in handy with weekly reminders, baby growth information, checklists, videos and helpful tips. Once I found this pregnancy app, I instantly felt more connected to this pregnancy.
  7. Pregnancy Books - Women may have been giving birth for... well a long time, but the media likes to scare the bejesus out of us. Oh and let's not forget all the horror stories strangers like to tell you that again aren't what you want to hear. Ugh, it's enough to make anybody want that baby to stay inside their belly FOREVER. That's where a good pregnancy book comes in handy. For my first pregnancy, What to Expect When You're Expecting was my go-to. But for my second pregnancy, I wanted something more uplifting rather than instructive. That's why I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. There are too many good things to say about this book that I can't even get started.
  8. Prenatal Vitamins - What pregnancy checklist would this be if I forgot to mention prenatal vitamins?! I used these by Nature Made for both pregnancies... well, more accurately for 1.5 pregnancies. During the latter half of my first pregnancy, the smell of these kept me from actually being able to swallow them. So I switched to a hard, solid vitamin versus the liquid gels. Thankfully, I haven't had that same problem  this time and can continue to benefit from the added DHA (FYI most, if not all, solid prenatal vitamins do not contain DHA).
What's on your pregnancy must-have list?


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